Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spiced Apple Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream

I know I said the blog would be quiet this month, but I was suffering serious baking withdrawals last night and I had to whip something up. It just wasn't right to only have TWO measly blog posts for the entire month! I love blogging. So after a bit of rummaging around the kitchen, I managed to scrounge up enough ingredients to make these simple cupcakes. They certainly won't win any awards for being the prettiest thing you'll ever bake, but they sure are derrricious!!
The cakes are full of apples, cinnamon and a little bit too much all spice (I adjusted the amount for the recipe below). I love how the spices gave the cake such a rich brown colour. The maple syrup buttercream is based on the one I have been using wayyy too often recently. I've only started making this buttercream since I got my Kitchenaid, Lady Mix-a-Lot, so I completely understand if it seems like too much effort for a cupcake icing and you just want to do a simple one with butter, icing sugar and maple syrup. I won't judge.
This cupcake isn't as sweet as you would expect. The maple syrup is the only thing that really brings a lot of sweetness, as the brown sugar seemed to subdue sweetness of the buttercream. If you want you can put a whole cup of sugar in the cake batter instead of just 3/4 cups. But I quite like the lightness of these cakes, it lets the flavour of the maple syrup sing and the aftertaste of all the spices linger, so you're sitting there in a happy haze of cinnamon. Which seems like a very appropriate state to be in as Autumn approaches in the southern hemisphere.
When I woke up this morning to take photos, I saw how dark it was and I cried. Okay not really, but I wanted to. Then I fumbled around the house trying to find the light switch and tripped and fell into a big pile of glass bottles waiting to be recycled. I don't seem to be improving my coordination, but at least I didn't slice anything open this time. And then I realised I would have to take my photos at ISO1600 and I wanted to cry again. And now (4 hours later) it's sunny outside. Where was the light this morning?? Damn you Sydney!!!
Spiced Apple Cupcakes with Maple Syrup Buttercream
(makes 12 cupcakes, adapted from this recipe)
2-3 medium apples, peeled then coarsely grated (about 2 cups), I used Fuji but I'd recommend a baking apple like Granny Smiths
3/4 cup caster sugar
60g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarb soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp all spice
1 tsp pure vanilla essence
1 egg

For the buttercream:
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 egg whites
150g unsalted butter, softened
4 tbsp maple syrup
Optional: Cinnamon sugar, to dust
(If you're new to making Swiss meringue buttercream, these wonderful tutorials from two of my favourite bloggers will help)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F) and line a cupcake tin with papers. Mix together flour, bicarb, salt, cinnamon and all spice in a bowl and set aside. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy in a large mixing bowl, about 5 minutes. Continue beating on high speed and add vanilla and the egg, beating until combined. Beat in grated apple, don't freak out at this point if the mixture looks slight weird and curdled. With your mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture until just combined. Spoon mixture into lined tin, filling papers 3/4 full. Bake in the oven for 18-20 mins, or until cupcakes are cooked through (test with a skewer) and brown on top. Remove from the oven and cool in tin for 5 minutes, then remove from tin and cool completely on a wire rack.
Prepare the buttercream, place egg whites and sugar in a medium heatproof bowl and whisk together. Place over a small saucepan of simmering water, attach a sugar thermometer and continue to whisk until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F (70 degrees C). Remove from heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl and whisk with an electric mixer on high until cooled and thick, about 3 minutes. Continue whisking on high, adding a tablespoon of butter at a time until it is combined. Add maple syrup and whisk until combined. If the mixture is runny at this point, chill for about 5 minutes and then beat until stiff. (The mixture may look split after taking it out of the fridge, but keep whisking and it should come together) Spread or pipe over cooled cupcakes and if you wish, sprinkle some cinnamon sugar over the top of the buttercream. Can be stored in an airtight container for about 2 days.
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  1. You have top skills in icing cupcakes. And baking, and presentation!

  2. Yum. Apple and cinnamon are such a winning combo in winter.

  3. They looks delicious.
    Great photographs, as always!
    I love apples!

  4. Lol. Oh Steph! At least you didn't slice a limb open (that will be the new benchmark!). Your photos still look amazing! Yumm

  5. Oooh these look delicious. I was actually craving apple cupcakes this morning! Pity I can't have one of your gorgeous cupcakes.

    By the way, I love the little cake dome. So cute!

  6. Your photos are stunning as always Steph! Love this simple recipe.

  7. I said this a million times but you should stop being so hard on yourself. Your photos are always beautiful! And dude, Maple Buttercream? Sold!

  8. the birds and butterflies just remind me of spring! love how simply your cupcakes are decorated - they look really beautiful too!

    and also - where did you get the transparent cupcake dome/stand from? it's gorgeous!!

  9. Janine - Thanks so much dear! The glass cupcake stand is from Urban Outfitters, unfortunately they don't seem to stock it anymore :(

  10. Those look fantastic!! I just wish that real maple syrup was easier to come by here in Australia :(

  11. Lady Mix-a-Lot?!?! Genius, I love it!

  12. Wow! lovely presentation :) The cupcakes look lovely and so does the blog ... please do visit and follow my blog if you wish to @ http://kitchensojourn.blogspot.com :)

  13. YUM!! These look beautiful and I can only imagine how yummy they are :)

  14. Great pictures! thanks for sharing!

  15. Love your pictures so much! And the cupcakes don't look too bad either ;) Love the birds and butterflies print beneath them. Stunning!

  16. I love the little birdies, and can't help but exclaim BIRDIE NUM NUMS!

    Apple and cinnamon belong together, just like you belong with your unsliced limbs.

  17. You'll say it's a shame but even if I live in Maple syrup Land (aka Montreal, Québec) I barely cook with maple syrup! I know: shaaaaame! And I love it (especially on my pancakes and inside "pudding chômeur" (litteraly "homeless pudding") (quite something, uh?) And all this stories to say: I want to try your recipe cause it looks really good and a frosting with maple syrup has to be something! And, oh, beautiful pictures... as always! I don't comment often, but when I do... see, it took 50 lines. Hope to read you soon! :)

  18. Woah - absolutely lovely styling for what reads like a great recipe! Maple syrup anything wins my heart.

  19. These just look so pretty, not to mention the fact that they would be delicious. The maple buttercream really pushes me over the edge..

  20. I made these with a couple of alterations and they are divine!!! Thanks so much for the recipe!

  21. I made these using Granny Smith apples and they were perfect! Moist and delicious - thankyou for the recipe, they disappeared very quickly. I made a simple cream cheese and honey icing instead and it worked a treat!

  22. Hi! I found your blog very randomly last night before I got ready for bed... well, after about an hour of admiring your photos and recipes I finally decided I'd try this one out today! Instead of buttercream I made a lemon-maple syrup cream cheese frosting. My cupcakes came out DIVINE. Thank you so much for brightening my day! :)

  23. This blog is the most amazing thing I have ever seen! Your baking makes my jaw drop!


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